I’m not a “math person,” or at least that is what I was told in school. Words were always my thing. Truth is, as I get older, I realize I’m not all that bad at math after all. Part of this new confidence has a lot to do with me (finally) learning some things about Excel.
As a math-shy person, I had myself convinced that I didn’t need to learn Excel. I preferred design, graphics, and media programs and ignored the rest. I stubbornly made tables in Word (and did my own calculations). My husband tried to tell me, “You know, you could really do this better in Excel…” Eventually, thankfully, I managed to listen to him and give it a whirl. I remembered my old algebra rules, and impressed myself with the calculations I was able to design.
Excel is a great program for working with data of any kind (and that is now the latest “trend” in education), especially when it comes to maintaining a grade book where you track assessments. Having an Excel spreadsheet serve as your grade book is not only easier for you, but will be able to be a great backup if a grade you give a student is called into question. And, with all the data being asked for these days, it’s always a good idea for teachers to maintain their own records, again, if anything is ever questioned or misinterpreted (not that it would EVER happen…). You can make this trend work to your advantage by keeping good records and calculations of your own.
Also, Google keeps a pretty good spreadsheet over at Google Docs, and adds the features of portability (you can keep your grade book online to easily access from home & school computers) and collaboration (showing grades to administrators, parents, students).
Here are some links for you to move forward with Excel:
Getting Around Excel (Prof. Philip Meyer, UNC at Chapel Hill)
Excel eThemes (eMints National Center)
Excel Tutorial (USD Trio Program)
Microsoft Excel Modules (Internet for Classrooms)
Using Excel to Help You Organize Student Data (Teachers Network)
Checks and Balances, a Math unit using Excel (Teachers Network)
Excel for Teachers (Utah Education Network)
Excel for Teachers (Media Workshop)